Dec 072011


Published by The Wave

The new Indian River Inlet Bridge will likely be open to traffic in January, according to the Delaware Department of Transportation.

A few final steps need to be taken for the bridge to be operational, officials said. Once the span opens, demolition of the old bridge will begin. The entire project should wrap by summer’s start.

“Currently, the contractor is finishing up the pedestrian barrier, deck overlay, lighting and doing final stay-cable tensioning and survey work to ensure the bridge is in correct alignment,” said DelDOT spokeswoman Tina Shockley.

An official announcement for the expected date of the opening is expected this week, Shockley said.

DelDOT’s early estimates for the bridge’s completion were for December, but Shockley said Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee caused construction delays.

After a nor’easter hit Delmarva the weekend before Halloween, the bridge was briefly closed so crews could divert traffic and install a concrete barrier to protect the roadway north of the bridge from dune erosion. The project was estimated to cost between $50,000 and $100,000.

The new bridge will be open to two lanes of traffic during the demolition of the old bridge. Shockley said DelDOT hopes to have all four lanes open by Memorial Day, just in time for the busy summer season.

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